Trail Blazers vs Raptors Friday, 02/11/11 AT 04:00PM

Aldridge And Fernandez Combine For 60 For Sweep

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 5.0

    LaMarcus Aldridge scored 37 points and 10 rebounds after scoring 14 in the fourth quarter for the Portland Trail Blazers and Rudy Fernandez tied his career-high of six 3-pointers to sweep the Toronto Raptors for the third consecutive year in Friday’s 102-96 victory at Air Canada Centre.

    Aldridge, who recorded his 26th double-double of the season, made four of his last five shots in the final period and finished shooting 14-of-25 from the floor, including 9-of-12 from the free-throw line to fend off the Raptors (14-40) for the sixth straight meeting.

    "It is a team effort," said Aldridge. "My teammates have done a great job of getting me the ball. I think Coach Nate (McMillan) has been unbelievable in believing in me so it has been a pretty fun ride."

    Fernandez sizzled off the bench, scoring 23 points in the first half and ended shooting 8-of-11, 6-of-8 from beyond the arc with three steals as the Trail Blazers shot 54 percent. 

    "I just kept shooting and made the shots," said Fernandez. "It was important for us to get this win Toronto as it is a difficult arena. I was happy with the first half, but the important thing was to beat Toronto."

    Fernandez turned the second quarter into an early All-Star Three-Point Shootout after dialing in on four threes to finish the half perfect 8-of-8 from the field, 6-of-6 from long and 1-o-1 at the line for all 23 points for Portland (29-24).

    "I feel good," said Fernandez of his first-half performance. "When I take the shots and I make them, my teammates keep me shooting. I was feeling good which is why I made them in the first half."

    Fernandez’s shooting moved him up in Portland’s history book, passing Derek Anderson for the 8th spot on the all-time list for 3-pointers made with 339.

    "I was aggressive to the basket," said Fernandez, "but the important thing is the team and to play together. We played together in the last half."

    Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 29 points and six rebounds after the Raptors shot 51 percent from the floor. Jerryd Bayless scored 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and knocked down four of the Raptors’ five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, while Demar Derozan added with 17 points and four rebounds.

    Bayless came off the bench firing all four deep balls in the first six minutes of the fourth to take a 85-78 lead. The former Trail Blazer pulled Toronto within two points, 98-86, with 11.7 seconds remaining after Portland stormed on a 16-5 run.

    "It would have felt good if we had won," said Bayless of the loss. "When I was in New Orleans we beat them and I didn’t have half as good of game and it felt a lot better, so like I said we’ve just got to continue to move on the right track and you know hopefully we will."

    Aldridge and Bargnani battled on each end of the floor down the stretch. Aldridge knocked in a jumper to go up by two. Bargnani answered with his own post move to knot up the game before Aldridge responded again, drilling a turnaround hook in the last four minutes to pace his team to its third win in a row.

    "You can grow every night," said Aldridge of his developing game. "Teams are double teaming now so I can grow in that aspect of learning how to make teams pay."

    Andre Miller scored 13 points and eight assists, while Nicolas Batum added seven points, seven rebounds and swatted a career-high four blocks.

    Miller came up clutch again for Portland in the fourth. After Bayless narrowed the gap 91-90 with 2:55 in play, Miller drew the contact after slashing across the lane to convert a three-point play. 

    "He has been solid," said Aldridge of Miller. "He has been key. He’s putting guys in position to make big shots for us. He has been everything, a glue guy for us keeping every thing going."

    Toronto’s transition offense kept Portland off balanced in the first quarter. Trail Blazers committed six turnovers in the opening period and both teams finished with 16 giveways. 

    Portland regained its composure after being down by seven and responded with a 13-2 run behind two back-to-back threes from Fernandez to finish the opening quarter ahead 23-19. 

    Sonny Weems scored four of his 10 points in the opening period. Dante Cunningham scored six points and four rebounds in his return after missing the Chicago win due to an elbow blow to his right eye in Cleveland. 

    The Trail Blazers will look to extend their win streak in Detroit on Sunday, when they take on the Pistons and try to close out another three-year sweep. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 PM.

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